The project was commissioned by California College of the Arts to showcase a wide range of work from different creative disciplines without sacrificing a cohesive attitude towards the space, a legible overall organization, and an equitable distribution of exhibition space among the disciplines.
The design sought to eliminate spatial hierarchies created by the existing architecture, which consists of a 343’-long by 33’-wide central Nave and smaller adjoining rooms.
With cost being a major limitation in this project, the proposed intervention was focused on working with lost-cost materials and existing architectural elements such as movable partitions and three-dimensional framing devices and repurposing existing objects such as pedestals.
The four 26-foot-square immersively colorful rooms that punctuated the exhibition footprint not only mitigated the grand scale of the existing architecture and eased way-finding but also functioned as extended thresholds between the central Nave and the adjoining rooms.
The use of color was a key component of the design because it was what allowed these otherwise loosely defined spaces to be read and experienced as rooms. By drawing visitors into a sequence of interconnected smaller spaces these rooms then fostered a fluid, intimate, and integrated viewing experience. The color palette was inspired by the college’s signature teal, which was featured in one of the rooms.
The last room in the sequence, by virtue of both its standout color and its orientation, functioned as a terminus and led visitors to the Nave Alcove, where many of the exhibition’s events were held. The white wall remains the default “neutral” in exhibiting most forms of art.
Part of the success of the design was its ability to deploy color spatially to define enclosure all the while providing a vibrant background that complemented certain artworks without significantly reducing the white wall space needed by others.
Photography: Palmyra Geraki, Josef JacquesCuratorial Team: Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik (Humanities & Sciences), Donald Fortescue (Design), Glen Helfand (Fine Arts), Palmyra Stefania Geraki (Architecture & Interior Design)Collaborators:Exhibition and Public Programs Team:Jaime Austin (Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs), Josh Stulen (Manager, Exhibitions & Public Programs), Bryndis Hafthorsdottir (Program Coordinator)Installation Team:Manuel Angeja, Jamee Crusan, Brandon Walls Olsen, Malaya Tuyay, Emily Livingston Stout, Frankie Garcia, River Black, Vincent Miranda, Justin Clark, John Roy, Juan Pablo Rahal Soto, Fiona Ball, Margot Becker, Jacob Ji Awards & Distinctions:NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) 2019 National Conference “Believe the Hype” – featured project (exhibition)UIA (International Union of Architects) – 27th World Congress of Architects (RIO 2019) – featured project (paper presentation).